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Every Body: Working with Intimacy Coordinators

Feb 21st 2023
HAU3 - Top Floor
Kate Lush, Paula Alamillo, Sondos Shabayek moderated by Samantha Murray

Supported by the Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and Creative Europe - MEDIA Programme of the European Union.

What is an intimacy coordinator, and why do we need them? While the term may already be familiar to filmmakers who’ve relied on these skilled consultants on their sets, the profession is still a relative new field. Intimacy coordination is most certainly not only a matter of making sensitive scenes “look good”, but can turn into an exciting opportunity to raise awareness around issues of representation and diversity. Intimacy coordinators Kate Lush and Paula Alamillo Rodriguez sit down with directors and actors starring in this year’s Berlinale films to talk about the importance and difficulties of handling sensitive scenes on set, give a sense of what their role entails in practice, and how it might evolve in the near future.

Kate Lush

Kate Lush is an intimacy coordinator, award nominated actor, movement coach and teacher with ‘Safe Sets’ in South Africa working on TV/Film and in theatre. She has intimacy coordinated for Apple TV, Netflix, CBS, Amazon Prime & HBO Max, amongst others. Kate also spearheaded and delivered with the Safe Sets team a training programme for Netflix, who were looking to provide Intimacy Coordinators across the EMEA region and beyond. This was then followed by a similar course in South Africa and the Middle East. Kate is also co-founder of Intimacy Practitioners South Africa who were key contributors to the Protocols for Working with Intimate Content - South Africa, The Intimacy Practitioners’ Guild EU/UK and represented Intimacy Coordinators for the UK Union BECTU in 2020/21 in their Intimacy Coordinators Branch, contributing to their industry documents.
© Michael Wharley

Paula Alamillo

Paula Alamillo Rodriguez is a producer, casting director, intimacy coordinator and co-founder of Amard Bird Films in Berlin. They have produced five feature films, all of which premiered in international festivals like Berlinale, Toronto or Guadalajara and have been screened internationally. She attended Berlinale Talents in 2016 and was selected for the Talent Project Market in 2018. Their co-production, "Cocoon", was the opening film of Berlinale Generation 2020. In 2022, they presented "White Sand Crystal Foxes", a 360° immersive film by Liz Rosenfeld at Berlinale Forum Expanded.

Sondos Shabayek

Sondos Shabayek is an Egyptian filmmaker, acting coach, and intimacy co-ordinator. She has over 12 years of experience working with actors and non-actors, facilitating storytelling workshops, documenting personal narratives, and directing theatre performances of women and gender-based stories.

Samantha Murray

Samantha Murray is an intimacy coordinator based between London and Madrid and is part of Safe Sets (UK/EU/SA). She has supported productions for both series and feature film, including for Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon Studios, BBC Films, Secuoya Studios, MRC and Esperanto Filmoj. She is co-designer for curriculum and pedagogical lead with the Netflix/Safe Sets partnership to deliver excellence in IC skills development across the EMEA region. Before training as an IC, Sam's experience spanned a 25+ year career as a professional stage and screen actor in Australia, as well as working with hundreds of young actors as a qualified educator (QTS) and director internationally. She belongs to the BECTU (UK) IC Branch working group developing best training guidance. Sam is repped by Ness Evans at 42 in London.